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Air Quality Workgroup

Passive air samplers at site in Grand Rapids, MI

Air Quality Workgroup



To review and share the current state of the science for PFAS in air and develop health-based screening levels for PFAS in air for the protection of public health and the environment. Identify PFAS use and sources of PFAS emissions, and regulate where authorized within established time frames for permitting and inspection activities.


The Air Quality Workgroup consists of staff from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. 


Joy Taylor Morgan

Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE)

Recent Accomplishments

  • The definition of PFAS compounds continues to change as new studies of these compounds take place.  Due to the variety of ways to define or describe what PFAS compounds are, MPART decided that having a working description of PFAS would be helpful as we try to understand the science behind PFAS.  This description was developed in October 2023 and will be updated as science evolves.  This definition will not be used to develop regulations.

PFAS Multi-State Air Quality Group

  • In March of 2021, the Multi-State PFAS Air Group met with EPA ORD (Office of Research and Development) scientists to discuss and review OTM-45 (other test method), a new stack sampling methodology for PFAS, and a request was made for the states participating to provide test sites at which the method could be applied.
  • On July 20, 2021, a speaker with the National Atmospheric Deposition Program (NADP) and Wisconsin’s DNR, presented on a workgroup call in which it was found that precipitation samples had levels of PFAS below 1 ppt.
  • On March 9. 2022, the Multi-State Air Quality Group met to discuss definitions of PFAS.
  • On July 28, 2022, a representative from New York Department of Conservation gave a presentation on a study evaluating PFAS emissions and deposition using soil testing and meteorological data for two facilities in their state.
  • On November 29, 2022, a representative from the University of Rhode Island gave a presentation on the “proof of concept” PFAS passive air sampling conducted in Michigan during the Fall of 2021.
  • As of November 2022, the workgroup included representatives from Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Wisconsin, West Virginia, and California.

Harvard University and University of Rhode Island Collaborative Project

  • Since early 2021, the workgroup has been in conversation with professors from the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and the STEEP (Sources, Transport, Exposure, and Effects of PFAS) program at the University of Rhode Island (URI) about pursuing a joint project with MPART to investigate and develop a model for enhanced PFAS emissions inventories.
  • This project used passive samplers developed at URI that took up PFAS from the air through diffusion. Data collected with the samplers will be used to evaluate Harvard’s model.
  • A memorandum of understanding, a quality assurance plan, and standard operating procedures along with chain of custody documents were developed for the project.
  • In the last week of September 2021, EGLE deployed 27 passive samplers in Michigan for one month. The University of Rhode Island analyzed the samples in 2022.
  • In October of 2022, University of Rhode Island sent their final report titled, “Michigan PFAS Sampling at Air Monitoring Sites” and documented finding low levels of some PFAS compounds in the air at some locations similar to other outdoor semi-urban areas, and at concentrations lower than recently reported indoor air samples. This effort also showed that meaningful PFAS air samples can be taken using inexpensive equipment.

Passive air sampler at site in Benzonia, MI Passive air sampler at Grand Rapids site

Image 1: Passive air sampler at site in Benzonia, MI
Image 2: Passive air samplers at site in Grand Rapids, MI

  • Efforts to collect rainwater samples began in October of 2021. Samples were l collected from five different locations (Lansing, Saginaw, Grand Rapids, Traverse City, Southfield, and Bay City) and processed by MPART’s contractor. This rain bucket “proof of concept” study involved putting out inexpensive, PFAS-free rain buckets at the five locations and collected two to four rain events. Results showed very low levels of a few PFAS compounds in rain and that it is possible to collect PFAS rain samples inexpensively.

Bucket placed outside during a rain event in Saginaw to collect rain samples to be tested for the presence of PFAS.

Image 3: Bucket placed outside during a rain event in Saginaw to collect rain samples to be tested for the presence of PFAS.

Next Steps

  • Continue to communicate with other states and EPA about the best way to define, identify, monitor, reduce and control PFAS released into the air.
  • Continue participating in quarterly EPA National Hazardous Waste Combustion calls.
  • Continue to facilitate an MPART discussion group to develop a working description of PFAS.
  • Continue to work on information collected from chromium electroplating facilities to identify PFAS use and alternatives.


  • Staff track the studies currently underway to monitor PFAS in the ambient air, test for PFAS emissions from point sources and understand the destruction of PFAS via incineration and discuss the status of this effort with EPA's Office of Research and Development scientists. Workgroup members with EGLE's Air Quality Division (AQD) develop human health screening levels for PFAS in air where appropriate to address human health and environmental concerns.
  • Work with academic researchers to collect air and precipitation samples in support of atmospheric modeling in Michigan.

    Timeline of Accomplishments

      • February 5, 2018:  Workgroup members of EGLE's AQD developed health-based screening levels for PFOS and PFOA in air through the AQD's Air Toxics Program.
      • Various other presentations were given to EPA Region 5 staff, EGLE staff, the State's Air Advisory Council (AAC) and Lake Michigan Air Directors Consortium (LADCO) in 2018.
      • September 21, 2018:  Gave a PFAS air quality presentation at the National Association of Clean Air Agencies (NACAA) national meeting.
      • October 1, 2018:  Requested AQD staff inspect all regulated chrome platers and staff determined all were in compliance with the National Emission Standard for Chromium Emissions from Hard and Decorative Chromium Electroplating and Chromium Anodizing Tanks. All were in compliance with the prohibition against using PFOS-based fume suppressants after 2015; however, several were still using other PFAS-based fume suppressants.
      • April 25, 2019:  Gave a presentation to the LADCO on PFAS air quality issues.
      • July 17, 2019:  Presented along with staff from EPA Region 5 to the "Auto Suppliers Partnership for the Environment" on PFAS use in the chromium electroplating industry.
      • July 31, 2019:  Gave a presentation on PFAS air quality issues to Wisconsin DNR Commissioner and management staff.
      • In summer 2019:  With the help of EGLE student interns, mapped regulated chromium electroplating facilities and tracked sources identified via permitting, exemption, and inspection activities as possibly using/emitting PFAS.
      • August 20, 2019:  Completed a FAQ on PFAS air quality related issues to address questions from the public. This document was posted on the MPART webpage
      • September 24, 2019:  Workgroup members developed a screening level for 6:2 FTS; peer reviewed by the MPART Human Health Workgroup in March 2020. Screening level is final and available on the EGE Air Quality Division web page.
      • September 25, 2019:  A workgroup member gave a presentation along with staff from EPA Region 5 to the Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG) on PFAS use in the chromium electroplating industry.
      • On November 6, 2019, formed a Multi-State PFAS Air Quality Workgroup to discuss all aspects of PFAS air quality related accomplishments and challenges across various states. Topics have included PFAS air modeling and monitoring. Workgroup staff organizes and facilitates monthly calls currently including 13 states. This Multi-State PFAS Air Quality Workgroup also serves as one of the Topical Workgroups under the Great Lakes States PFAS Task Force.
      • On December 13, 2019, coordinated a letter signed by the MPART Executive Director with MPART's Wastewater Workgroup to send to all chromium electroplating facilities to encourage PFAS pollution prevention activities. Chromium electroplating facilities use PFAS-containing materials to help prevent the emissions of hexavalent chromium, a known carcinogen.
      • On February 3, 2020, the MPART Executive Director signed a letter to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Docket drafted by members of the MPART Air Quality and Human Health Workgroups. The letter recommended PFAS be added to the Toxic Release Inventory (TRI).
      • In March of 2020, a MPART subgroup was formed to develop a working description for PFAS from the perspective of their chemistry. This will be useful for toxicologists, chemists, and others involved with the regulation and remediation of PFAS, as there is a lot of discourse surrounding how to define such a broad group of compounds. Several EGLE employees were also appointed to the Great Lakes States PFAS Task Force.
      • At the beginning of August of 2021, a meeting took place with Eurofins, the contract lab used by MPART, to discuss their approach to air sampling of PFAS.
      • Fall 2021 had meetings with facility representatives and reviewed permits for the use of PFAS-free mist suppressant for use at chrome plating facilities. Two chrome platers currently operating in Michigan are now permitted to use PFAS-free mist suppressants.
      • June 23, 2022, staff participated in a meeting with USEPA, the automobile manufacturers and their associations to discuss opportunities for PFAS pollution prevention opportunities.
      • Staff continued to learn about PFAS destruction technologies like incineration, thermal oxidizers and super critical water oxidation in 2022.
      • Staff also continued through 2022 to participate in the Interstate Technology and Regulatory Council History Use and Naming Convention national workgroup.